Computers can now imagine narration and dialogue based on video

A video segment inspires this computer program to create a sentence of narration based on what happens.
A video segment inspires this computer program to create a sentence of narration based on what happens.

Korean research team announced on Feb. 3 that they have successfully developed an imaginative computer program that can acquire information contained in videos and make up words or dialogue suitable for each scene shown on the screen. A research team headed by Jang Byung-tak, professor of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Seoul National University, entered the 1,232 minute long Korean animation Pororo into the computer program. They found that the program was able to teach itself to recognize scenes, lines, stories, and characters using associative memory that resembles a human brain’s neural network.

After entering specific scenes, the program can create dialogues appropriate for each character. The dialogues may differ from the original ones. It is also possible to see different versions created depending on whether 100 minutes or 10,000 minutes of the cartoon are entered into the program. The phenomenon is attributable to the possibility that the nature of characters may change as time goes by.

For full article, see Business Korea.


New plant compounds become pest control

Pictured (left) is the ovarium of a normal mosquito. Pictured (center, right) are abnormally developed ovaria due to changes in the JHAs.

A team of researchers has identified plant compounds that can kill targeted pests, leaving the rest of the plant unharmed. Comprised of Dr. Oh Hyun-woo of the Korea Research Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB) and Professors Sim Sang-wun and Je Yun-ho of Seoul National University, the research team identified plant compounds that can serve as a Juvenile Hormone Antagonists (JHA). They succeeded in isolating such substances from plants and this is expected to lead to the development of insecticides that are safe for both humans and the environment.

The juvenile hormone controls an insects’ metamorphosis, the process of emerging from an egg and shedding its skin on a regular basis. It also controls reproduction in female adults. Controlling the JHAs interrupt hormone activation and prevent insects from going through a normal metamorphosis and reproducing normally. Previously, this type of research was done by observing abnormal developments and deaths in targeted cells and insects. This time, however, the new technology used a “yeast/ two-hybrid” system to transform the mosquito’s junior hormone receptor. This made it easier to see whether or not the JHAs can affect the receptor. Also, using this process allowed the scientists to save both time and money.

For full article, see

Graphene smartphone to arrive soon

2014_02_graphene smart phoneSamsung Techwin and researchers from the Seoul National University co-developed touch screen smartphone with a promising new material ‘graphene’ layer. They developed smartphones based on technology for mass production of graphene, paving the way for the commercial production of graphene, analysts said.

Samsung Techwin’s Research & Development (R&D) Center and the chemistry department professor Hong Byung-hee and his researchers from Seoul National University noted Monday that they succeeded in applying touch screen made out of large-scale graphene film to Samsung’s smartphone ‘Galaxy.’ The research outcome was announced in the international academic journal in the nano field ‘ACS Nano.’

The latest research demonstrated the possibility of mass producing mobile phones using graphene, opening the way for graphene to be utilized in diverse areas including bendable displays and semiconductors.

The researchers adopted ‘Rapid Thermal CVD’ technology to produce graphene film. This technology saves time for mass production of graphene from 300 to 40 minutes, allowing for production of quality graphene with the size of 400×300㎟ at low temperatures.

For full article, see Maeil Business.

PET-MRI made in Korea

Domestic PET-MRI clinical trial
Domestic PET-MRI clinical trial

The joint research team (KAIST, Sogang University and Seoul National University) with KAIST Department of Nuclear and Quantum Engineering Professor Kyu-Sung Cho in charge, together with National Nanofab Institution (NNFC; Director Jae-Young Lee), has developed PET-MRI simultaneous imaging system with domestic technology only. The team successfully acquired brain images of 3 volunteers with the newly developed system.

PET-MRI is integrated state-of-the-art medical imaging equipment that combines the advantages of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) that shows anatomical images of the body and Position Emission Tomography (PET) that analyses cell activity and metabolism. Since the anatomical information and functional information can be seen simultaneously, the device can be used to diagnose early onset Alzheimer’s disease and is essential in biological science research, such as new medicine development.

The existing equipment used to take MRI and PET images separately due to the strong magnetic field generated by MRI and combine the images. Hence, it was time consuming and error-prone due to patient’s movement. There was a need to develop PET that functions within a magnetic field to create a simultaneous imaging system.

For full article, see KAIST.